Homeowners and landlords can get the most out of their gas heating appliances by understanding a few fundamentals. When you choose to go down the route of project managing a self-build or home renovation project, picking through the different central heating options available to you can be a minefield. It’s important to choose right from the start, and knowing what’s involved in terms of running costs and long-term maintenance will be a bonus. In this article, we’ll walk you through the basics, what you need to know if you find that you have to choose your heating system elements yourself and how to get the most out of them during their lifetime.
Gas Central Heating System
Basically, a gas central heating system has two main components: the part that generates heat and the part that spreads the heat throughout your house. So most gas central heating systems will have a boiler to generate heat and to spread it – pipes, radiators (or underfloor heating) and a tank for hot water. We’ll discuss how these all work together in the upcoming sections.
First things first – Different Types of Boilers
Depending on the size of the property, you may be able to discuss with your boiler installation expert what boiler you should choose. If your property is connected to the gas grid, (which most properties in the UK are) you’ll be able to install one of three types of gas boilers:
Combination Boiler: You won’t need water tanks or cylinders with this boiler. It heats up water on demand – i.e when you open the hot water tap. It’s most suited to smaller homes or flats where the hot water demand is limited to one kitchen and one bathroom.
System Boiler: System boilers give you more control as you can have zone valves installed to separate different radiator and hot water cylinder circuits, programmers and thermostats to control the desired time and temperatures. They are also compatible with solar water heating systems. So if keeping your energy bills and carbon footprint low is a priority, this is an option to explore.
Regular Boilers: Also need to be accompanied by a hot water cylinder. In addition to the extra zone valves, thermostat and a programmer, they will need a circulating pump and sometimes, an expansion vessel depending on the heating and hot water needs of your home. Regular boilers are often best suited to much larger properties. They can comfortably supply hot water to two bathrooms without losing water pressure or changing the temperature.
Everything you need to know about boiler installation and maintenance
Servicing and maintaining your appliances will make them more efficient and cost effective in the long run. Make sure you get quotes from 2 or 3 different installation experts, the installer you choose can really make a difference when it comes to the long term health and maintenance of your central heating.
According to Which?, it’s important to make your heating appliance choices based on long term efficiency rather than simply what they cost now. If you choose an efficient boiler now, it will ultimately save you money in future utility bills and also maintenance expenses. Some tips:
Boiler Maintenance Tip 1: Power Flushing
A power flush is a process that gives your central heating system a thorough clean and improves its performance, it removes sludge and debris. This will be more relevant if you’ve had your boiler for a number of years, or once you come to replace an old boiler. A power flush should take place as part of a new boiler installation. Once the heating system is flushed, drained and new boiler installed and system filled back up, chemical inhibitors are added to prevent future rust and build up.
Boiler Maintenance Tip 2: Regular boiler service
The best installers will be sure to discuss follow up care and regular servicing with you. They will also take care to complete the necessary paperwork – i.e. your boiler manufacturer’s guarantee and Gas Safe Register paperwork – and make sure they are sent off. In order to maintain your gas appliance’s warranty, yearly servicing is a requirement. It means that should your boiler require repair at any point, you can contact the manufacturer. It also ensures that your appliance continues to function efficiently and safely, giving you peace of mind.
Boiler Maintenance Tip 3: Gas Safety
If you’re a landlord, it’s a legal requirement to perform a gas safety inspection on all gas appliances in your home. Including gas boilers, gas fires, hobs and other appliances running on gas. The first step to ensuring gas safety is to hire a Gas Safe engineer to install your appliances to begin with. Make sure you check your installer’s Gas Safe ID card, front and back. (The back will show which appliances they’re licensed to work on).
In summary, three main things you should know to get the most out of your heating system:
- Choose the right type of boiler for your home.
- Being active about maintaining and servicing your boiler will save you money in the long run.
- Choose the right installer to ensure your appliances are installed safely.
This article was researched and written by WPJ Heating, a plumbing and heating services company based in South West London.